S W V Deeks
Frimley Green Cycle Shop
100-year-old cycle workshop moved to Tilford's Rural Life Centre...
July 2014 - Staff and volunteers at the Rural Life Centre, Tilford, are over the moon at the news that they have at last been successful in the museum's application to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Their newest acquisition, made possible by the grant, is the 100-year-old Frimley Green cycle workshop, complete with its Aladdin's cave of tools and bikes spanning the decades.
Frimley Green's older residents have provided the museum with fascinating background to the workshop which, in the early days of motoring, was once a garage. The workshop is the RLC's first building acquisition in several years, and as soon as they have the go-ahead, it will be carefully dismantled and transported brick by brick to the 10-acre site on The Reeds Road, Tilford.
We believe that this could be the first time a British museum has moved a whole garage and contents to become an exhibit, said the museum's director Chris Shepheard.
All other similar examples are actually replicas.
Now we are hoping to get from the Frimley Green community information about the cycle workshop, its owners and users which will help bring the building to life once it is re-erected here.
The road to lottery funding success has been long and at times problematic. Norman Emblow leading the project had the task of getting quotes from builders and assessing the monetary value of volunteer man-hours, while Bruce Oelman wrote up the application.
Bruce seemed to have a magic way with words for the application, said Norman,
and perhaps we were lucky with the timing of the application this time because of the popularity of cycling today. We hit it just right!
While we are waiting for permission to take down the garage, we will be itemising and identifying the huge number of tools and other items in it. We have engaged an adviser from Brooklands Museum to help with that work. Then we have to dismantle the wood floor, doors and windows and all the fittings in readiness to restore them and put them back into the re-erected building.
Lottery funding is just the beginning of this exciting new project at the museum's 10-acre site.
The building is original and there aren't many like it, said Norman Emblow:
Although we have to do a certain amount of restoration and painting, we will have to be careful not to clean up the 100-year-old woodwork too much - we don't want it to lose its unique character!
...Now the cycle workshop is at the Rural Life Centre!
When you visit the Rural Life Centre now, you can see the virtually completed Cycle Shop, even with the original wood floor blocks wherever possible (a few were re-made due either to damage or rot) and other features. Every effort has been made to present it as a functional shop and workshop, exactly as it was all those years ago.
To keep it true to the original internal appearance, some of the more recent modifications (such as pegboard additions to the walls) have been omitted.
Christmas time was a special time for the Cycle Shop now that it is accessible to everyone. It was decorated as it would have been when Vic Deeks was running the shop.
The Deeks Cycle Shop is now completely gone from Frimley Green and, thanks to everyone who helped, is re-created and looking very good in its new setting at the Rural Life Centre.
Instead of seeing a decaying building, our visitors can explore a re-creation of the old days, complete with all the internal and external features just as it would have been.